How to Organize Your Paper: Lose 30 Pounds in 30 Minutes

Think you can’t lose 30 pounds in 30 minutes?  You can if those pounds are piles of paper and stacks of outdated information.  We’ll show you exactly how to get the best results while organizing your space just 30 minutes at a time.

Tomorrow night, Tuesday, May 22 at 7 PM, I’ll be at the Plymouth Meeting Community Center, near Plymouth Meeting Mall. This seminar is open to individuals and small business owners.  It will feature before and after shots of real spaces, and an explanation of how long it really takes to tackle that paper mess. Attendees will learn tips and tricks they can start using tomorrow.  Attendees are encouraged to snap a shot of their own piles or trouble spots to discuss at the seminar. The event is $15.  I am thrilled to be offering those who register early a gift bag with organizing goodies and items from some of my favorite brands, including Bai juice drinks (yummy antioxidants and caffeine when I need it), Chick-Fil-A in Plymouth Meeting Mall (sign up for their newsletters; they are always having free food and family events!), and HappyFamily Protein Squeezes (my favorite on-the-go car food in between appointments).  Click on the pictures below for their information.

how to organize files

how to organize files

how to organize files

Attendees may register by emailing Joanna Rizzuto at or by phone at 610-277-4312. Greater Plymouth Community Center, 2910 Jolly Road,  Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462,,

If you have paper, piles, and pounds of material not quite ready for recycling, this is for you. I’ll discuss cover hot topics including identity theft (including good rules for shredding) and using technology effectively to save time & money, discuss the seven places paper can live in a well ordered office, the one thing you can do to organize your receipts, the single most important thing you should do with your mail, and the five simple steps to organizing any space.

I find that many people are afraid to let go of their paper because they fear they don’t know the “rules” for what to keep. This list can help you get started:

  • Most utility bills are not considered tax deductible, so they can usually be recycled or shredded once paid, for employees who receive a W-2 and don’t own a side business.
  • The IRS has the right to audit the past three years of tax returns in most cases, so employees and those with simple finances may be able to store only three years of past financial records. Seven years of records is usually the most that a household needs to store for IRS purposes.
  • ***I’ll be giving away my favorite tool to store unpaid bills to one lucky seminar attendee.***
  • Most receipts are not tax items for most people who do not own a business, so they can be stored together for a year in a shoe box without organizing them and agonizing about needing them for returns.
  • Use the SPACE protocol as a guide, laid out by Julie Morgenstern in her book, Organizing from the Inside Out.  I’ve modified this acronym to stand for: Sort, Purge, Analyze & Arrange, Containerize, and Establish a Maintenance Plan.
  • People who own a business or do freelance work can save money by knowing a bit more about what additional documents to store and organize.  I recommend connecting with a CPA, to ensure business owners and freelancers can deduct the most at tax time.
  • It’s best to check with your own financial advisor to ensure you are saving their necessary financial documents only as long as needed.
  • Paper organizing can be the most difficult type of organizing project.  Work with a timer in 30 minute increments. That way you get at least something done, but you don’t have to lose a whole day to an unpleasant task.
  • Separate memorabilia from action and archive paperwork.  Safely store photos and other mementos away from your desk in storage books or boxes made for this purpose.
  • Start with a reward in mind.  Reward yourself after you’ve completed a certain part of your project, whether the reward is a new office gadget or a fat-free frozen coffee treat.  Really, you don’t want to shift those pounds from your desktop to your waistline, right?

Please register, and we’ll see you there.